Apple and Nokia Change Places As Lumia (So Far) Fails to Ignite

Ahead of Apple's quarterly earnings call next week, Fortune has rounded up analysts estimates regarding Q1 2012 iPhone sales. The consensus range is 30 to 35 million units:

The average among the Wall Street analysts is 30.5 million . . . To hedge our bets, we've singled out the six analysts who have turned in the most accurate estimates over the past five quarters. Their consensus: nearly 35.1 million units, an increase of 88.5% year over year.

Apple was the insurgent and Nokia the market leader. Now the roles have been reversed.

Nokia will report a loss later this week and expects a similar result in Q2. The bottom has fallen out of Symbian phone sales. However the company said it had sold 2 million Lumia handsets (globally) to date:

In the first quarter 2012, Nokia sold more than 2 million Lumia devices at an average selling price of approximately EUR 220 (reported within the Smart Devices business unit). Furthermore, Nokia has seen sequential growth in Lumia device activations every month since starting sales of Lumia devices in November 2011. Lumia has gained market share with both distribution partners and consumers. The Windows Phone ecosystem is also attracting developers and has expanded rapidly with more than 80,000 applications available.

Dpending on whether you think "it's still very early" or whether the company should have sold more units to date, you either conclude that the device is off to a good start or failing to take off. My view is in-between. I think it will sell moderately well to people interested in an inexpensive handset and not loyal to either Apple or Google.

The phone is apparently selling well on Amazon with overwhelmingly positive reviews, leading one person to question whether the reviews had been faked.  I do believe that some of the reviews are fake; though many if not most are probably genuine. Nokia, AT&T and Microsoft have a great deal riding on the success of the handset, creating incentives for people to generate positive reviews.

I have used Windows Phones and found them to be good but not great. The chief problem is a lack of apps. I also don't favor the homescreen UI.

If Lumia is as great as the reviews suggest then sales should pick up considerably in the next quarter. This is the make or break year for both Windows Phone and Nokia as a company.